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Compliance Updates

Videoslots awarded Swedish licence extension

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Leading operator granted five-year renewal from SGA

The Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) has awarded a five-year renewal to Videoslots for its licence.

Valid until the end of 2028, the renewal is the maximum possible extension that the SGA can give to operators.

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Videoslots has operated in Sweden since the first day the regulated market opened in 2019 with the flagship brand of the group, and most recently alongside its rising star Mr Vegas.

This news confirms Videoslots’ footprint within Europe and the Nordics, following a successful 2023, which saw the release of its 10,000th slot and the launch in Ontario.

Ulle Skottling, Deputy CEO at Videoslots said the news strengthened the company’s position and validated its player-centric approach.

He added: “We remain strong in business and compliance, and we welcome the SGA’s recognition and ongoing confidence in our practices. The decision supports our plans for 2024.”

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Compliance Updates

Breaking News: New £2 maximum stake for under 25s playing online slots in the UK

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  • Stake limits for online slot games introduced for the first time in September in landmark moment for regulation of online gambling
  • Maximum £2 stake for 18 to 24-year-olds for online slot games to be introduced
  • £5 limit for adults aged 25 and over brings stakes in-line with casinos

Easily accessible online slot games are one of the most addictive forms of gambling, and can be associated with large losses, long sessions, and binge play. Unlike land-based gaming machines, such as in casinos, they have no statutory stake limits.

To counter the increased risk of significant harm and life-changing losses from online slot games, the Government will introduce a £5 stake limit for adults aged 25 and over.

Responding to evidence, a lower level stake limit for young adults aged 18-24 years old will be set at £2 per spin. This age group has the highest average problem gambling score of any group, as well as lower disposable income, ongoing neurological development impacting risk perception and common life stage factors like managing money for the first time. The evidence also points to a stronger link between gambling related harm and suicide among young adults.

The decision follows a 10-week consultation period in which the majority of respondents agreed with the gambling white paper proposal to introduce statutory limits for online slot games to help reduce the risk of gambling harm. Consultation responses included views from industry, academics, treatment providers and individuals.

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Gambling Minister Stuart Andrew said: “Although millions of people gamble safely every single day, the evidence shows that there is a significantly higher problem gambling rate for online slot games.

We also know that young adults can be more vulnerable when it comes to gambling related harms, which is why we committed to addressing both of these issues in our white paper.

The growing popularity of online gambling is clear to see, so this announcement will level the playing field with the land-based sector and is the next step in a host of measures being introduced this year that will protect people from gambling harms.”

Evidence from the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities shows that young adults can be particularly vulnerable to gambling related harm, with under 25s having the highest average problem gambling score of any age group.

NHS survey figures also show that there is a problem gambling rate of 8.7 per cent for online gambling on slots, casino or bingo games, one of the highest rates across gambling activities.

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CEO of GambleAware Zoë Osmond said: “We welcome the Government’s announcement to introduce lower online stake limits for under 25s as an important mechanism to protect young people. Our research shows a concerning trend with this age group experiencing an increase in harm arising from gambling and online slots are very high-risk products.

As we continue our work to tackle this growing public health issue, we will collaborate with the Government and others across the gambling harms sector to ensure there are no missed opportunities when it comes to the introduction of robust preventative measures, including new regulations such as these.”

The limits will come into force in September this year, following secondary legislation. There will be a six week transition period for operators to become compliant with the general £5 stake limit rules, followed by a further six weeks for the development of any necessary technical solutions to ensure operators are fully compliant with the lower stake limit of £2 for young adults aged 18-24.

Although most people gamble without issue, the restrictions introduced today are just some of the proposals set out in the Government’s white paper to modernise the gambling sector and make it fit for the digital age.

This includes the introduction of a statutory levy for research, prevention and treatment, as well as financial risk checks designed to prevent catastrophic, life-changing losses. The Gambling Commission and the Government continue to listen to concerns from campaigners, the wider public, and both the gambling and horse racing industries as part of the consultation process on these checks. The Gambling Commission continues to refine its approach on the design to achieve the right balance between protections and freedoms.

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As well as introducing measures to protect people from gambling related harm, the white paper package contains proposals that will support the land-based gambling industry to thrive. The industry supports thousands of jobs across the country and the Government has been clear it does not want to harm its success.

Responses to the wider white paper measures will be published soon.

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California

California Gambling Control Commission Announces Comprehensive Agenda for Upcoming Meeting

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The California Gambling Control Commission (CGCC) has officially released the notice and agenda for its forthcoming commission meeting, set to take place on Thursday, March 7, 2024. In a move to accommodate participants from various locations and enhance accessibility, the CGCC has announced that the meeting will be held both in person and via tele/video conference.

The primary location for the in-person meeting will be at the CGCC’s headquarters in Sacramento, located at 2399 Gateway Oaks Drive, Hearing Room 100 on the first floor. Additionally, satellite locations have been established to cater to attendees in Northern and Southern California, including the Judicial Council of California’s Milton Marks Conference Center in San Francisco and the Carolyn Owens Community Center in Chino, respectively.

For those unable to attend in person, the commission is providing a Zoom link (https://zoom.us/j/2857578614) and a toll-free call-in option (1-888-475-4499, Meeting ID: 285 757 8614), ensuring widespread participation. The CGCC emphasizes that public participation is strongly encouraged, recommending virtual attendance through Zoom for convenience, although in-person attendance is welcomed, particularly at the Sacramento primary location.

The agenda for the meeting is packed with critical discussions and deliberations, starting promptly at 10:00 a.m. Key items include the approval of meeting minutes, consideration of initial and temporary licenses for third-party proposition player services employees, and key employee findings of suitability in line with tribal-state gaming compacts. The meeting will also address renewal applications for key employee licenses and commission work permits among other consent calendar items.

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This comprehensive meeting underscores the CGCC’s dedication to transparency and public involvement in its regulatory duties. It offers an opportunity for professionals in the gambling sector, stakeholders, and the general public to engage directly with the commission’s activities and decisions affecting the gambling landscape in California.

For more details on the agenda and how to participate in the meeting, please visit the CGCC’s official website at www.cgcc.ca.gov.

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Compliance Updates

Cyprus National Betting Authority Launches National Self-Exclusion Platform

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The Cyprus National Betting Authority during a press conference on February 20, 2024, announced the launch of the National Self-Exclusion Platform (NSEP). This strategic initiative is part of the Authority’s commitment of safeguarding players and the public, as outlined in its Safer Gambling Strategy 2022-25.

The NSEP facilitates players to control their betting activities and opt for self-exclusion, either temporarily or indefinitely, from all online bookmakers who are licensed in the Republic of Cyprus. The player acknowledges that their betting activity has brought gambling related harm on their life, hence, they may use the self-exclusion tool for a more effective control of their betting activity. During the self-exclusion period, the player has access to their current account only for the purpose of withdrawing their deposits and cannot create a new account in a licenced bookmaker’s website.

Registration on the platform is free, simple and straightforward, enabling the player to set their self-exclusion across all betting service providers by registering at https://www.exclusion.cy/. Specifically, players have the flexibility to choose between temporary self-exclusion, long period self-exclusion or for an indefinite time.

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During the press conference, Ms. Ioanna Fiakkou, President of the NBA, expressed her satisfaction with the platform’s launch, underscoring its significance as “a robust tool for every player, designed to promote safer betting behaviour and safeguarding vulnerable groups of people.”

“The development of the National Self-Exclusion Platform underscores the NBA’s dedication to player protection and the establishment of a sustainable and fair betting sector. The platform at this point offers self-exclusion from online betting service providers, but its operation is dynamic and poised to integrate additional functionalities. Thus, we extend a public invitation to all stakeholders to join our efforts for safeguarding society and include specific groups such as athletes in the platform’s operations, in collaboration with relevant federations and governmental bodies, to join the platform. Through this collaborative effort, we aim to fortify the fight against match-fixing and enhance transparency in sports, aligning with key objectives outlined in the Authority’s strategic framework. We are particularly satisfied to witness the realization of another significant milestone, as we advance towards achieving the goals set forth in the Safer Gambling Strategy, reinforcing protective measures for the public and fostering the industry’s sustainability in the right direction,” Ms. Fiakkou said.

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